Turnstiles That Don't Quite Work


New Yorkers, as a general rule, are very busy. They get angry and impatient at having to stand in line (or on line). I saw an example of this today when I was downtown and witnessed a pile-up of cars. Somebody got on their horn and just leaned on it, one continuous blast for three minutes straight. He let up for about thirty seconds, then started in again. This lead to others around him doing the same thing, so it was a horrible minor chord of car horns, honking in long, sustained tones. This despite the fact that they were honking at a red light. No amount of honking was going to change that light, but damned if they weren't going to let the surrounding two blocks know that they were not at all happy about the fact that they weren't moving.

As such, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has installed turnstiles in all of its subways designed to accomodate this on-the-go lifestyle. Every turnstile in the city has a little card reader to the right in front of it. You position your Metrocard right-side-up, print side facing you, and slide it through the card reader (a small slot protruding from the top of the console, similar to credit card readers at stores) as you walk through. The upshot of this is that, if you get your metrocard out and position it as you're approaching the turnstile, you can slide it through and walk straight into the station without breaking your stride. There's almost never a time when you're sitting and waiting for someone to process. Full-speed all the way.

Unless, as happens maybe one time in twenty, the card doesn't read, requiring you to swipe it again. It makes a tone when this happens that is slightly longer than the "all clear" tone, but this doesn't matter. Because your goal is to go through as quickly as possible, so as not to anger the people behind you, by the time you notice the card didn't scan you have already reached the turnstile. And since you're used to just being able to walk straight through, you have probably reached the turnstile at full speed, and have already made contact with it, expecting it to yield. Since the card did not scan, the turnstile has no such intention.

It probably bears noting here that, at my height,five-foot-nine, the turnstile is at roughly crotch height.

Thus last night, when boarding the uptown 9 at 86th street, I had the unpleasant experience of whanging my crotch into an unyielding turnstile and coping with this pain while a crowd of exasperated New Yorkers threw up their hands and yelled at me for holding up the line. Can't you see the train's coming?!

It's no fifteen pound cat hanging from my leg, but there's my story of pain and suffering for the day.


And you're quite sure that the verb you meant to select, purely for reasons of linguistic accuracy and appropriateness, for the action of your crotch with regard to the offending turnstile is, indeed, whanging?

When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.

I like whang. It's a sort of portmanteau, you see; a combination of Whack and Bang.

It's also, obviously, a slang term for the male member, but it's my favorite coloquial way of referring to it just because it feels more aesthetically pleasing than other names. The various options with hard ds and ks are too driving and aggressive, while the elaborate metaphors feel too forced and cutesy. Wang is pleasant and fun and non-threatening. Like me!

You're not alone.

I was actually trying to find the one in which Mayor Gabe announces that he's finally arranged the houses of the townsfolk into the shape of "a truly epic wing-wang", but I couldn't seem to find it in the archive and there was only so long I was willing to spend searching for "wang" over and over again.

Yeah, I like that Penny Arcade has a search feature for their archive (a LOT of comics could desperately use one) but it seems pretty slipshod. There have been a lot of times when I tried inputting five or six different words from the dialogue, and came up blank every time. At that point I either give up or go to the broad period when the comic appeared and just keep hitting back or forward until I find it.

And this is my favorite of the wang comics, for what it's worth. (And I believe Pubic Works Project is the one you were looking for.)

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on October 22, 2005 7:54 PM.

All the Lonely People, or Captive Audiences was the previous entry in this blog.

I get so much joy out of cleaning and straightening! One day, I'll be the best janitor ever! is the next entry in this blog.

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